Smart phone solutions: How to track a lost or stolen phone - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Smart phone solutions: How to track a lost or stolen phone

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Losing your smart phone can turn your life upside down. Packed with important passwords and personal information, losing your cell phone is like losing your wallet, with $900 inside. Plus your address book and your bank account numbers.

"It could be a total catastrophe if you lose your phone nowadays," said Larry Stram with Mac Resources.

That's because it is no longer just about canceling an account, changing a number, or buying a new phone. It's about your mobile device ending up in the wrong hands.

"Because iPhone is the most popular and most wanted, it is the most commonly stolen because someone can easily sell it," explained Stram.

Or worse, they can steal your identity. Your social networking profiles, browsing history, and check-ins are easily accessible, and paint an awfully good picture of who you are.

While you can't prevent your phone from getting lost or stolen, you can protect yourself.

By arming your phone with the latest apps that double as tracking devices and security features, you will be less likely to have your personal information compromised, and more likely to get your smart phone back.

We tested out two of the most popular apps, to see just how well they really work.

The first one is called "Find My iPhone" and it's one our tech expert stands by.

"Find my iPhone is free and it's available from Apple. It does work, so I tend to use it versus any other," said Stram.

It's pretty easy to use. Just download the app on your phone, sign in to iCloud from a computer, and you're in business.

We "left" my iPhone at the park. I logged onto iCloud and located it in just seconds. I then sent a message to the phone with return instructions.

I also had the option to remotely lock the device, or completely wipe it.

On to an Android based app. It's called Prey and it's also free. To set it up, you simply install it on your phone, activate the email link, and log onto the website control panel.

We "misplaced" my Android phone in the car. I marked it as missing and in return, received its location. I also had the option to sound an alarm, send a message, or remote lock my data.

In our book, these two apps are smart solutions to tracking down your smart phone.

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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